Location: Evanston, Ill.
Funding: Private university
Size: About 8,600 undergrads
Percent Women: 51%
Tuition (one year): $45,527
Most Popular Majors: Economics, Journalism, Psychology, Political Science and Government, and Speech Communication and Rhetoric
Greek Life: Yes
Acceptance Rate: 15.3%
For more information about financial aid, scholarships, majors, study abroad, and average test scores, visit Northwestern’s website at www.northwestern.edu/admissions/
Why Choose Northwestern?
“I knew that Northwestern had Medill, one of the best undergrad journalism schools in the country.”
“I wanted to be part of the best.”
“At the end of the day we’re all just normal people–we’re so similar but yet, so different at the same time.”
“I wanted to study theater and this just gave me the best opportunity to do it.”
“I chose Northwestern because of their excellent pre-professional advising and because I want to go into medicine."
“I’m from Southern California so I definitely wanted to be in a different environment, and I really liked their first year engineering class that actually lets you pretend to be an engineer right when you get there.”
“It’s just cool that we’re so diverse academically.”
"One of my favorite parts of Northwestern is Dillo Day. We work really hard all year, and the school brings in awesome performers in May. I just get to have fun with my friends and celebrate the school year coming to an end."
"One of our most well-known campus events is Dance Marathon, which is 30 hours long. Last year, we raised $1.2 million for The Danny Did Foundation. It's a tough and exhausting 30 hours, but in the end the satisfaction of surviving the marathon and raising so much money for a good cause is totally worth it."
"I think that Greek Life is a great part of Northwestern because, rather than being catty or detrimental to student life at other schools, it is a great source of support and friendship, within chapters as well as among them."
"My favorite part of Northwestern is Ski Trip, which is a student-organized trip that happens right after finals in December. You get to fly out to some snowy state and have a great time with your friends, either learning how to get yourself down the slopes or teaching your less talented friends to ski."
"I love that every student at Northwestern is so intellectual and I can have a great, fulfilling conversation with a student in any of my classes."
“The shuttle system needs to be improved. We had a few days with temperatures below zero, and even then, when the school sent around frequent ‘Frostbite Shuttles’ I still had a hard time finding one.”
“It'd be cool if we could have temporary IDs for like $1. Sometimes I misplace or leave my Wildcard somewhere but know it's not lost so I don't want to pay $15 for a new one, but still need it to get on shuttles and such.”
“We really need more fresh fruit in the dining halls.”
“We need paper towels in the bathrooms of dorms—I know this is kinda trivial and probably not environmentally friendly… but this is my living space! I want a paper towel to dry my hands!”
“They should deliver packages directly to specific the dorms. I know that they just opened up a second location where packages can be picked up from, but for many people neither location is convenient.”
“Football team. Our football team needs improvement.”
“I do not want to join a frat, but I still want social (aka party) opportunities. I think it's messed up that just because I don't agree with a lot of the things frats do, and thus don't want to join one, it is ridiculously hard to find a damn party.”
New Collegiette On Campus
“It's hard for me to pick a favorite part of freshman year. I feel like freshman year especially is a composite of so many wonderful experiences that it's impossible to choose.”
"The first year on campus is so much fun. But is hard to balance school and meeting people though. "
"Get to know your Peer Adviser! They can really help you out, not only during orientation, but for the rest of your year."
"Don't be afraid to apply to new clubs. It's shocking to get to a school where clubs and philanthropies are competitive, but apply to everything that you might be interested in. Don't be intimidated."
"You will make friends! Everyone was so scared that they wouldn't fit in or they wouldn't make friends. But everyone does and most people have the time of their lives. It's all about putting yourself out there."
All About Academics
“The most popular majors at Northwestern seem to be journalism, psychology, engineering and chemistry or biology for the pre-med students. At least those are the ones spoken about most often, as they are the students most likely to complain about their workload.”
“The workload at Northwestern is usually very high. There are a lot of readings, papers, and group projects that need to get done, along with studying and preparation for exams. Midterms seem to happen after the first week of school, and every week thereafter. I never feel like there is no work to be done.”
“I don’t go to the library ever, because it’s sad. The atmosphere is very stressed, which makes my stress load worse. I’d much rather study in my sorority house or a coffee shop where people are happier.”
“I got waitlisted on half of my classes last quarter and only got into one of them. I’m here for five years and have two majors, so I’ll eventually get into the classes I need to take to fulfill my requirements, but during freshman and sophomore year they’re harder to get into because you have later registration times.”
“I think the advising system is great if you get a good advisor. Some advisors don’t put the effort into getting to know their students because they have other work that they deem is more important, but I personally have an amazing advisor. She follows up with me and sends me emails to check in and make sure I’m doing okay. At our first meeting, she told me to come to her if I ever had a problem and she would do whatever she could to fix it. But even if you don’t get a helpful advisor, you can always reach out to another professor you know and like for advice.”
Learn from the Best
“One of the best things about Northwestern is how many schools and majors we have. I think we have six just for undergraduates, and there’s always something new to try to or learn about, even if you decide your dream major isn’t for you. The professors are also really helpful and dedicated to their job, and most are willing to go out of their way to help you.”
“The nice thing is, students are hardworking without being pretentious about academics. There’s a collaborative spirit overall—people are willing to work together on assignments, support each other in extracurricular interests and give feedback and insights on a friend’s persuasive essay. People usually go to TA office hours to get feedback, and the sessions are really chill, usually over coffee.”
"Don't graduate NU without taking Russian Lit with Morson; its some of the most insightful literary teaching that you will have. Don't be intimidated by the size of the class; the exams are still very manageable even if you cannot devote the time to read all of the material. I definitely recommend it for a distro or just if you are interested in the subject matter.”
“If you want to understand life, identity, meaning, or anything related to be being alive on this earth, take Russian Lit with Professor Morson! The things you learn from Morson are transferrable to life beyond NU, and Morson is world- renowned--my professor in Copenhagen even knew who he was. This course was life-changing for me, and by far one of my favorites since starting at Northwestern over three years ago.”
“Intro to Psych with Renee Engeln is a great class. Renee is an incredible lecturer--funny, engaging, and interesting. If you have any interest at all in psych, or in the human mind or behavior in general, I highly recommend this class. The work does pile up though, even though it's all just reading. Tests were hard if you put all the studying off until the last minute. But stay on top of things and you'll be fine.”
Interests & Involvement
“Northwestern has over 400 student clubs and organizations so there are countless ways to stay involved on campus. During fall quarter, students are able to attend Northwestern’s Activities Fair where they can learn about all the different student groups and clubs, and meet current members and leaders.”
“There are many ways to become involved with activities that have to do with your major. I am in the journalism school, so I’m involved with the Northwestern News Network. It’s a great way for students who are interested in broadcasting to get practice and gain experience while filming and editing videos. These are skills that will help students out later on in their careers. I know other students who write for student publications like North by Northwestern, the Daily and Spoon. It's also fun because students who are majoring in anything can be part of these clubs, not just journalism students."
“Students can join club sports on campus. Some of them include volleyball, basketball, football, hockey, soccer and softball. They’re a great way for students to stay in shape, compete, travel and meet new people.”
“Dance Marathon is great because for 30 hours it brings together so many diverse people on campus to dance for one cause. It’s exciting and invigorating to look into the crowd and see so many students working so hard because they are passionate about a cause. It is also a lot of fun and really rewarding."
“Northwestern has an incredible theater community. The actors and actresses are so talented and it’s great to be able to attend shows like Legally Blonde and Shrek on campus. Also, it’s impressive how so many of the shows are written, performed and produced by the students themselves.”
“There are a lot of a cappella groups of campus that have amazing, talented singers. I found the Undertones show really fun and uplifting and I have also been to Purple Haze performances.”
“Joining a sorority has allowed me to meet and become close with so many people, not only in my own chapter but in the entire Greek community. I’ve been introduced to many different clubs and organizations that the people in my sorority are part of, which has helped me become even more involved on campus."
“I’m on the spirit squad here at NU, and I feel like our school spirit gets stronger every single year. The student section grows year after year, it makes the games so much more fun.”
“We have an extremely busy student body, so sometimes I feel student section attendance (besides the big name stuff like football) can suffer. But we’re all extremely proud of our teams and love to brag about them.”
“Tailgating for football is the highlight of my year.”
“I’m on club soccer, and its honestly shaped my college experience. There’s a ton of club and intramural sports here and it's great way to meet people. You end up with a great group of friends.”
"We may be a huge academic school, but we’re still Big Ten contenders. Our basketball team has been doing great this season, and our women’s lacrosse team is insanely good. They’ve won the national championship seven times.”
“Our women’s lacrosse team has won the NCAA Championship seven times. Talk about NU girl power.”
“There’s no specific type of girl on campus. We’re all different in our interests and styles and fashions, but I think all women here are similar in that we’re smart, motivated and hardworking.”
“Girls always wear snow boots, thick sweaters and infinity scarves in the cold. It’s obviously practical because it can be freezing here, but it’s also really cute.”
“Greek life has been one of the most fun and rewarding experiences here, but besides sororities, there are so many other groups on campus for girls, like varsity and club sports; the all-girl a capella group, Sig O; College Feminists; and all-girl dance groups like Deeva and Mirch.”
“I like being a woman on this campus and calling this my school. There’s a certain confidence you get from being successful at a place like Northwestern.”
Food & Drink
“My favorite part about dining halls is the made-to-offer food, especially in Plex West, like when they have pasta, gyros, burritos, salads, or other options.”
“I lived in Elder last year which has a nice furnished kitchen on the ground floor. Most of the dorms have a kitchen you can use; a lot of people use them for baking.”
“We are so lucky to get to choose from such an extensive variety of Evanston restaurants in both food category and price range. I'm a junior and I'm still nowhere close to hitting up all the restaurants in this town.”
“I wish we used more local food, but they’ve been doing a good job of including healthy and vegetarian options in the dining halls.”
“After freshman year I didn’t eat in the dining halls too much, but I still load my Wildcard with money and buy snacks or quick meals from C-Stores when I’m on campus."
“In my experience, Greek Life is the main part of the social scene here, especially for freshman. Fraternities have open parties, which is where I tend to go on the weekends. Now after rush, most sororities and fraternities have closed mixers so the last few weeks I've been going to those types of events with my sorority. Those are fun because its fewer people than a typical open party, so you can do more things like play drinking games. They also are usually themed which can be fun. There are other parties and things to do, like when different student groups have parties but those tend to be small and not open events. I'd say the social scene here is pretty good, because you can always go out if you want to. I'm not a huge fan of The Deuce but that’s a big thing Thursday nights, because it’s the closest and cheapest bar to campus.”
“During my free time, I like to play basketball with my friends and go out to eat in Evanston. My friends and I also often watch movies at the Evanston movie theater.”
“I love the social scene at NU, but it’s very different now than it used to be. When I was a freshman it was The Keg and fraternity parties, but now as a senior I spend a lot more time in Chicago or kicking it at friends’ houses.
“Although Greek Life is one of the focal points of the NU social scene one can easily go out regularly without being affiliated. Whether it is going to one of the bar nights such as the Deuce or McFadden’s, hitting up a local bar like Bar Louie or WOB, it is not hard to party at Northwestern. If bars aren’t your thing, one can generally go to fraternity parties if you have good friends in a few of the houses. If you don’t want to party there are always a ton of plays and performances on campus, whether you are going to watch a friend or just enjoy the show."
“Kafein is a great social hub. It’s an awesome place to talk with friends and hang out, or to get your work done if you're feeling studious. They also have the most amazing milkshakes. In the night, Kafein often has open mic night, where talented students can showcase songs they've been working on.”
"The social scene at Northwestern is pretty diverse. There's always something going on at night, whether it's an improv show or a radio station party with live djs and two dance floors. Parties happen both on and off campus, and while greek life does make up a large amount of the things to do on a Saturday night, you don't have to be in a fraternity or a sorority to show up to a frat party and have a good time. Additionally, other student groups have their own parties as well."
“The dorms have varying levels of niceness and community. In Bobb and Hinman, people on the same floors tend to get pretty close and hang out a lot, even though the rooms are small and the buildings reek. But in Allison, the rooms are larger and the furniture is new, but no one speaks to each other. Then there's Willard, which has huge rooms and community as well as Elder, which has nice furniture and strong community. And then there are the midquads, which are tiny and awful and also have no community.”
“I hate how NMQ and SMQ need a key to leave the stairwells.”
“The dorms at Northwestern feel very safe and the guards are generally very friendly. I would say that Elder is the best dorm to live in as a freshman just because of the community. It at the most northern point on campus, but it’s the only all-freshman dorm so the walk to class is worth it.”
"I lived in Allison my freshman year and loved it. The rooms are so nice and luckily I made some amazing friends on my floor. I liked having a faculty in residence because our dorm had a lot of cool opportunities as a result of that."“Because Foster-Walker Complex is exclusively singles, it’s difficult to find a real community there. The people that live in Plex are generally upperclassmen who already have their community on campus, but it has one of the best dining halls.”
“My favorite place to go in Evanston is Prairie Moon. The food is good, the atmosphere and energy are positive, and the wait staff is friendly. It’s a comfortable place to go and have a good meal.”
“I love Evanston because it allows me to get off campus if I need a break.”
"I love how many different cuisines there are in Evanston. Especially since I live off campus and no longer have a dining plan, there are so many different options for takeout."
"Evanston has tons of nail salons, spas, places to shop, and fitness options including Pure Barre and Fit Girl. It's the perfect college town for a collegiette!"
“A major perk of Evanston is all the different restaurants and coffee shops you can go to. It's the 'Dining Capital of the North Shore'. There's so many amazing options.”
"A fun thing to do in Evanston is just walk around and see all the different people in the community. Evanston is a really diverse town with a wide array of residents."
HC's Complete College Guide: Northwestern University
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